Show: The humble Farmer

Episode: humble 2010 0418.mpg

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Episode Description:

Well received by the intelligentsia in Northern New England, this is the same old fashioned music and humorous social commentary show The humble Farmer has produced every week since April 6, 1978 for radio and now on television.

Music by: Wingy Manone, Clark Terry, Boswell Sisters, Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Coleman Hawkins, Erroll Garner, Rex Stewart, Ben Pollock, J. C. Higgenbotham

The show is tightly scripted. Here's the humorous commentary for The humble Farmer show for the week of April 18, 2010
1. One of the most memorable lines in 200 years of Maine literature is a quote from the old bachelor lobster catcher Perse Seine, who was once asked why he was building a skiff in his kitchen. You will remember that in true Maine fashion, he answered the question with a question and said, “Well, what’s a kitchen for?” This came to mind when my wife dragged home a small table that someone gave her. Within a day the table was covered with clutter and looked like every other square inch of flat surface in the house. When I asked her about it, she said, “Well, what’s a table for?”
2. In the course of the day you and I catch ourselves doing so many ridiculous things, that there is no really no need to make up stories. But from time to time a silly apocryphal tale that I think you would enjoy crosses my desk and this is one of them. At 2 AM, when my old neighbor Gramp Wiley got up to go to the bathroom, he looked out the window and saw a man going into the barn. He called 911 and reported a suspicious prowler, but was told that at the last town meeting folks had voted to cut back on government services. The town now had only one officer, she was checking on a car some kid had rolled over, and there was presently no officer available. A minute later Gramp called 911 again and said to disregard his first call because he had shot the man in his barn. Within minutes a state police car roared up and the burglar was soon in handcuffs. The policeman said, “I thought you said you’d shot someone.” Gramp said, “I thought you said there was nobody available."
3. City people don’t think like we do out here on the farm. I just heard an excellent radio piece on urban agriculture the Catalina Island Conservancy produced for city people. It tells how to compost doggie do. The title to the doggie do piece reminds me of a bit of wisdom Zach says he heard me pass along on my radio program many years ago. --- What’s the shortest sentence in the English language? “I am.” What’s the longest sentence in the English language? “I do.” If saying do once gets you into trouble, can it also suggest what you might be stepping in if you get married twice? Anyway, here on the coast of Maine, where we enjoy rural agriculture, any organic rhubarb farmer knows that when it comes to enriching the soil even the most robust Saint Bernard would be no replacement for his young Angus bull. And after three years of faithful service, you wouldn't want to eat your dog.
4. My brother is back from India. You might remember that he went there with a friend who needed an operation that nobody but Bill Gates could afford here. While they were in India, they also visited a dentist and had their teeth checked. Yes, he had a ride on an elephant. But he was even more impressed by the traffic in the streets there. He said there are a few traffic lights but they are only suggestions because among the cars and people and motorcycles and rickshaws and cows in the road, there is complete anarchy. There are one way streets, but someone might go the other way if it were more convenient to do so. He said that cows might be standing still in the middle of the road and traffic just goes out around them. He said he saw no road rage. No one waits in line. If there are only three cars, they will stick right together, bumper to bumper. Everyone tries to get there first. He didn’t see any accidents. The secret to the successful operation of the traffic system is that everyone knows what the other person is going to do. The cow is not going to move. The only time he saw traffic stop was when a chipmunk ran out in the road. And this indecisive chipmunk ran this way and it ran that way. And because nobody knew which way the chipmunk was going to go, until it finally got out of the road everyone had to stop so they wouldn’t run over it.
5. Do you remember Go dog, go? Have you ever read Go Dog Go? I had already served in the military, flunked out of music school and was living in Europe when Go Dog Go was written. But I heard about Go Dog Go because my wife Marsha used to teach little kids how to read. So when someone in our home is doing something the others appreciate, we cry: "Go dog go." And now that I think of it, I’ve heard teen age boys call each other “dog” in those movies where they steal cars in front of a hidden camera. Do you suppose they got that from reading Go Dog Go? What do you know about Go Dog Go?
6. Here’s something that made me laugh. I read that someone in the Maine State Legislature is gnashing his teeth and rending his garments over this wimpy, watered-down sick cousin to a health care package we’ve heard so much about lately. I laughed because --- well, isn’t it your understanding that national legislators and older Maine legislators with a certain number of years of service now have --- and retire with --- a comfortable little health insurance package, most of which is covered by your tax dollars? Do you think many of your friends and neighbors know that their favorite representative presently enjoys the benefits of socialized medicine? It is our understanding that some man named Romney thought universal health care was ok back when he was governor of Massachusetts and gave it to his people, but now he doesn’t think those of us who live in the other states should have it. Perhaps you can explain this to me. How can any of our elected representatives tell us that socialized medicine is a bad thing if they have already quietly voted to give it to themselves? Here’s the bottom line: It would appear that a good many of our representatives are presently enjoying the level of health care already available to everyone --- in the rest of the industrialized world. But if you were to drop dead on the capitol steps, would your representative simply step over you?
7. If 100 men stand in a row, one of those men is going to be the shortest. He might be the one you really would like to have for a next door neighbor, or working side by side with you every day on the farm. If 100 women earn a PhD in physics at Harvard, one of those women is going to receive the lowest pass grade. She might be the best wife and mother in the lot. Write your own punch line to this. I have to eat breakfast.
8. Why do we need a town library? One of our radio friends is chair of his town’s library board and this is my abbreviated version of what he says. (only read some of this)
1) On a philosophic level, society benefits from having an informed citizenry.
2) Individuals benefit in being able to explore the life around them, beyond them, and within them by having access to the materials, in several different forms, available at the library.
3) The citizenry both collectively and individually benefits in having professional librarians available to them to assist in helping to navigate the galaxies- and black holes- of information in society.
4) In an atmosphere where the market is not only used to define worth, but also to shape the availability of information, having taxpayer supported access to information is indispensable.
5) The ubiquitous digitization of information does not mean that we are any better informed, as one academic paper we encountered in our workshop sessions demonstrated the poor preparation of college freshmen not only to conduct proper research for their papers, but also a low level of ability to develop, support, and present a logical argument.
6) In my rather small town the $25 I pay each year in taxes that goes to the library allows me access to the tens of thousands of items in its immediate collections, and to the millions that are readily obtainable throughout the rest of Cape Cod, and the state of Massachusetts as well.
7) I conduct alumni interviews for my alma mater. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing, and engaging in good conversation with, a very bright high school senior making application to the school. he said that so far as the Internet is concerned, "maybe about half of it can be useful, the other half is a crapshoot."
8) The public library is more than physical repository, it is also where members of society can interact, through exhibits, concerts, readings, lectures, and forums (fora). For free.
9) Given all the above, and more, it distresses me that public libraries take a disproportionate hit when economic conditions (more often than not brought about by the same market-worshiping, anti-government credo of the Right that seeks to own and control information in society) fall hard on municipalities.
We can discuss this further sometime, but for now I hope this illustrates the importance of modern public libraries to society, individually and collectively. Signed, HC
9. Here’s the product of some silly things I read in an email. You of course remember that The value of the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides. Well, here, just for you, is one that is even worse. After Quasimodo's death, a new bell ringer was needed and an armless man applied to the Bishop for the job. The armless man was able to play a nice song by striking the bells with his face. But on the second day he tripped, and fell to his death on the street. By the time the Bishop got down there a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure and one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?" And the bishop said, "I don't know his name, but his face rings a bell." The following day the dead man’s twin brother showed up and was given the bell ringing job. But --- as the armless man's brother started up the stairs, he died on the spot. When the undertaker asked the Bishop, "Who is this man?" The bishop said, "I don't know his name, but he's a dead ringer for his brother."
10. Here’s more of the same. Years ago an English mill town had fallen on really hard times. But then the mills were all closed and no one had work. Soon the town's mayor found that there was a man in Germany who was looking for someone to take over his hunting-dog breeding business. So the mayor had all the mills converted to kennels and all of the dogs transported to his town. And before long, whenever there was a full moon, a resident could be heard to say, "The mills are alive with the hounds of Munich."
11. Perhaps you know that after William Tell shot the arrow off his son’s head, they were both invited to join the local bowling team. But this was so long ago that all of the league records have been lost, so we’ll never know for whom the Tells bowled.
12. Did you hear about the unfortunate man whose whole left side was cut off in an accident? He's all right now. And this next one is also so bad I can hardly wait to pass it along to you. As Maria lit the candle at the grotto for San Jose de El Mismo and prayed for a healthy delivery of her child, she heard a voice from the sky say,' Your daughter will be 17 inches long,' to which Maria replied, 'Do you know the weight too, San Jose?'
Thank you for considering The humble Farmer.

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